Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse.
Causes of infertility are many and varied and involve male, female or a combination of factors. This includes problems with the production of sperm or eggs, the structure or function of male or female reproductive systems; and/or hormonal and immune conditions.
Causes of female infertility
Female fertility can be affected by
- a woman’s age
- tubal disease or problems with the fallopian tubes
- ovulation disorders
- polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Salpingitis (Pelvic inflammatory disease) caused by sexually transmitted disease.
Causes of male infertility
Male fertility can be affected by problems with sperm production or the transport process such as:
- Blocked / absent vas deferens (tubes)
- Low sperm number and/or poor sperm production
- High numbers of abnormally shaped sperm
- Failure of sperm production
- Anti-sperm antibodies
- Sperm DNA fragmentation
- Genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or a chromosomal abnormality
How do you treat infertility?
Following some routine tests and investigations, your fertility specialist can formulate a personalised treatment plan with you, beginning, where possible, with the simplest most natural options.
There is a wide variety of fertility treatment options available including:
- Ovulation cycle tracking to help confirm ovulation and pin point your fertile window
- Ovulation induction to help encourage ovulation with medications
- Artificial insemination
- In vitro fertilisation
- Fertility surgery
- Advanced science such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for genetic conditions
When should you seek help?
A woman’s age is the single most important factor affecting a couple’s chances of conceiving. That’s why it is strongly recommended you seek assistance after 6 months of trying if you are over the age of 35, and after 12 months of trying if you are under 35.